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On disc: Opeth

Porcelain Heart - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Heritage - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars


(Roadrunner Records - 2011)

Opeth and their mainman Mikael ┼kerfeldt are back with their 10th studio album - Heritage. This time the fans had to wait a little longer - and not everybody will be pleased. The cover artwork by Scott Travis shows reminiscences to 70's prog rock / Krautrock albums and actually that's what you get.

They kick off with the title track, slowly with piano they lead you into Heritage. The sound is warm and full, a lot like analog recordings. Heritage is only an intro, but shows the way, even if The Devil's Orchard is a heavy rock it has the authentic 70's prog rock feel... with a dash of psychedelic sounds and even Krautrock. They take you on to a trip, a travel back in time... But they also add new sound elements to their 'new' sound, so you get some classic guitar parts at I Feel The Dark, but the song becomes more powerful without getting metal. A dreamy prog rock tune with an awesome melody line, even if it gets more powerful after awhile. Still, it has this 70's feel. Time to speed up! Slither is a fast, heavy rocker, but even if it shows some similarities to metal compositions it is a fresh sounding old-fashioned rock tune. At Nepenthe they add some prog elements and even jazzy parts, a walk on the razors edge, coz many long time fans might reject the new style. On the other hand it opens up a new door and if 70's prog rock / Krautrock fans give it a try, they might fall for the 'new' Opeth. The production was handled by Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree, Blackfield) and he managed to give the album an authentic 70's sound without sounding backdated.

The opening passage of Famine is reminding me for a moment of some opera, then Oriental-sounding percussion is leading you into another beautiful prog rock tune. Allow Mikael ┼kerfeldt enchant you.

The rest of the songs don't really differ in style or introduce some new sound elements, but don't think they are fillers! They are equally beautiful as the other tracks on Heritage! This album is just great! Kudos!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Porcelain Heart

Porcelain Heart
(Roadrunner Records - 2008)

With Watershed the Swedish Opeth will release a little later this year their 9th studio album. Now they present 2 songs of their coming album as a digital single which you can get on
Porcelain Heart kicks off with heavy and monolithic riffs, but switches from mid-tempo to a slow acoustic passage. Very atmospheric. Soon the vocals set in. Fragile and touching. Then it erupts with heavy riffs and brings back the initial theme. They take you on a roller coaster ride... Somehow it's disturbing - and also puts you under a spell. In the middle of Porcelain Heart they add some progressive and even jazzy elements. And the backings make it a bit dramatic, then a break and a slow, atmospheric part follows.. The song is awes! You have to listen to it!
With humming The Lotus Eater begins. Then the song explodes and shows that Opeth still have death metal in them, even if the backing / clean vocals are very melodic and have some retro prog feeling... The clean vocals remind me partly a bit of Ian Anderson and are on top of some death metal frenzy. Its the very unique musical mixture of Opeth.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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